This week was chalk-full of tiny little blessings that all lead up to one big emotional Sunday. Well, to start it all off we met a woman this week who has a really cool story. She had seen us walking in her neighborhood because we baptized her neighbor. She walked into the house of her neighbor and asked extremely politely if she could sit-in on our discussion. We "almost" screamed YES!!! with a lot of excitement. After the lesson, she admitted to us that she had seen us the week before and really wanted to talk to us, but didn´t have the courage and felt embarrassed. She said that she could feel something different about us. The next time we talked with her, she left in the middle of our lesson and went to the bar to drink. We left the house and saw her in the bar with the beer in her hand and I could feel the embarrassment she was feeling. She asked for our forgiveness and went inside her house crying. The next day, we presented the Word of Wisdom to her and how it would literally improve her life in SO many aspects. We challenged her to stop drinking that night, and guess what happened... We got to her house the next day and she had thrown out ALL of her alcohol! She said that she had really repented and want to know the God that we know. We taught her the rest of the lessons and she accepted to be baptized on the 13th of March! The only thing that absolutely had to happen this week is that she had to go to Church. When we got to her house, she wasn´t ready and was claiming that she wouldn´t go with us that day. She was dead set on staying at home and everything, but her 6 year-old boy looked at her and said, "but Mom, you promised." She sat there looking at her son and started to smile and said, "let me take a quick shower and we´ll go." I got extremely happy for the little extra help that Heavenly Father gave her.
We also met two teenage boys, brothers, while we were knocking on doors. We got in their house and we started right off frank with them. We asked if they had been baptized with God´s divine authority. They answered that they had never been baptized yet. I then told them that that was our purpose for being in their house that day. They, too, got really excited to learn about this Gospel that we were teaching. We left the Book of Mormon with them and they have already read 1 Nephi together! We then marked to pass by and teach their mom as well. At first, she was really hesitant because she had never seen us before and that she has always been pretty protective of her two boys. I could see a lot of my own mom in this woman. A woman who absolutely loves her kids and even works to death to try to help them have an excellent life. I looked at her and told her that she had my word that I would never let anything happen to her sons. She took a step back, and said that they could go with us! They went to Church and loved it! They, too, will be baptized this next Sunday.
We have a recent-convert here in this area who we baptized two weeks ago. Her name is Michele and she is an excellent example of someone who has been converted to the Gospel. Michele loves going to Church with us and she loves introducing us to her friends, family, people on the street whom she doesn´t even know! She doesn´t have school this week because of Carnaval, so she will take us to all her friends´ houses. She has so much joy and happiness from the things she´s learning at Church and she is the type of person who likes to encourage people to do things. She always tells our recent converts that they need to start reading the Book of Mormon and pray every night. I really cannot tell you how happy I get when I see the people who I baptized start to spread the Gospel as well.
Well, with all these great people I met this week and brought to Church, I realized that Sunday was Fast and Testimony meeting. I saw all the other recent-converts of this ward get up and bare their testimonies. I just kept having this feeling that I needed to get up there and say something. I had never born my testimony while on my mission during fast and testimony meeting because usually there are so many members who want to bare theirs that there isn´t enough time. But I went up there and I told everyone that I had remembered why I was a missionary that day. When I see someone new in the Church, bareing his or her testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, my testimony is strengthened. When I see the light and life of the Gospel within someone who I taught and baptized, my testimony is strengthened. I work everyday in the rain, in the heat, in dog-poop infested streets of Brazil just to find the people who will be touched forever by the happiness that I have felt so much in my life that comes from the Church of Jesus Christ. When I see someone else catch this fever, I know that the Lord is using me as a tool in His hands. I am SO imperfect, yet He still trusts me to guide His children back to His presence. I know that my full and everlasting joy will come when it´s all said and done and we´re standing in God´s presence and I see the people who I taught the Gospel, standing there with the exact same joy as me.
To top the day off, we had a night baptism. His name is André and he is the older brother of one of the first person I baptized here in this area. He went straight from work to the chapel and was baptized. The funny story of the week was that when the elders went to turn on the heater to heat up the baptismal font, they turned it on the setting they wanted and then left it. When André entered the water, it was practically ice! The elders had accidentally put it on the COLD